Reapers: Slot Overview
In a variety of human endeavours, some are happy to take the relatively easy road and coast along without massive ambitions. No issues with that. However, there are others, like Print Studios, not happy to churn out cookie-cutter slots, possessing instead the drive and desire to take players on a journey they've never been on before. A case in point is Reapers, an online slot that takes a level of patience and commitment rarely seen before. A slot that, not only sort of blurs the line between videogame and slot machine but one that's so complex that it comes with a set of tutorials guiding participants through the facets of play. Reapers is unlikely to be easy, and it might not offer instantaneous gratification, but if you're intrigued by one of the most in-depth slots out there, come buckle up for the voyage.
Reapers is a sci-fi-themed slot set on a world where Critters have taken over an extraction facility, and it is up to players to clear them out. However, just getting into the facility might be a herculean task in its own right. Helping players out are the Reapers of the title. But first, the game world, which Print Studios seems to have spared no expense to develop. Seriously, at times you might be wondering if you've slipped out of an online slot into a triple-A video game. Graphics, sounds, and animations are all top-notch, and the level of care that has gone into every aspect – audio-visuals, story, features, and gameplay, is abundantly apparent.
Getting the mission rolling requires picking a reference bet of 25 p/c to $/€50 per spin and deciding whether or not to activate the feature buy. This doesn't buy the feature as such but guarantees a minimum number of Reapers which are required to access the bonus round. Whether buying Reapers or not, patience will be key here, as will a dash of good luck if you really want to see everything through to the end. Brace for highly volatile gaming if so, where the maximum RTP when playing regularly is 96.47%, increasing to 96.58% - 97.25% when buying guaranteed Reapers. All values are clearly detailed in the game info screen.
Furthering the technical analysis, Reapers is played on an 8x8 game grid, covered in active symbols and blocker tiles. Using a cluster pays system, winning clusters are created when five or more matching symbols are connected vertically or adjacently, but less than four symbols also pay when they are collected by Reaper symbols. Pay symbols are five non-terrestrial-looking tiles known as Critters in various colours worth 0.2 to 1x the bet for five of a kind or 25 to 500x the bet for 25+ of a kind. Reapers does not have wilds, but it's got a stack of extras more than making up for any absence.
Reapers: Slot Features
Here's where things start to get a little confusing, well, more confusing than a lot of slots can be. Let's start with the mission - unlock 15 barriers to gain entrance to the bonus round. Barriers are grouped in stages containing 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 barriers. Each barrier holds a game grid. Shutting down a barrier moves play to the next barrier and so on until the bonus round is awarded. Here's how it works.
When a winning cluster hits, a Reaper icon of the same type is placed next to it. All matching symbols and symbol clusters next to the Reaper are transformed into Energy Cells, then collected, and pays are awarded.
For every 5 Energy Cells collected, the Reaper gets one charge. Charges are used to shut a barrier down. The further you progress, the greater the number of Charges are needed to shut down a barrier.
Each Reaper also has a special ability, activated when Power Core symbols are collected. Power Cores are collected when they are adjacent to a Reaper. These abilities are:
- Energizer – causes all Reapers to generate one Energy Cell. This occurs once per symbol grid.
- Linker – links Reapers so they can collect from each other.
- Transformer – transforms purple symbols into another type of symbol.
- Expander – collects symbols in a 4x4 area.
- Multiplier – multiplies its collected wins by up to x10. The value is randomly selected at the start of each symbol grid.
Shutting down all barriers provides access to the bonus game. The bonus game has 5 levels, each one containing 75 symbol grids. If enough Energy Cells are collected on a level, players move to the next level. One Critter is removed for each new level. Now, when a level starts, a 4x4 Juggernaut Reaper travels through a tunnel passing through the symbol grids. Clusters of five or more are collected and paid for, and a meter indicates how many Energy Cells have been collected as a result. Collect the requisite number of Energy Cells, and you move to the next level. This is 430, 520, 590, or 790 to get to levels 2, 3, 4, or 5, respectively.
Players don't so much as buy the bonus round as buy guaranteed Reapers. The options are 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 guaranteed Reapers for the cost of 3.4x, 18.4x, 50x, 130x, or 425x the bet, respectively.
Reapers: Slot Verdict
Reapers is unique; no arguments there, and the differences aren't just the theme or features. Playing Reapers, in some ways, requires a different sort of mindset than certain players might be used to. This isn't really the sort of game you fire up on a whim, knock out a few spins and call it a day. Getting the most out of Reapers may well require a significant amount of patience, grit, and perseverance to extract satisfaction. Of course, it's possible to say that about a lot of slots, but Reapers takes it to a level rarely seen before. Perhaps never seen before.
As such, it won't be for everyone. However, for those interested, the game can certainly dole out rewards and not just wins of up to 20,000x the bet. Getting deep into the game, especially when playing without the aid of guaranteed Reapers, has the ability to instil a sense of achievement, like finally clocking a stage you were stuck on in a video game. In fact, Reapers feels like it was made by a design team torn between making a video game and making an online slot and resolved the conflict by mashing the two forms of entertainment together into one and rolling it out. It might pay to mentally prepare for anguish as well. Getting deep into the game is no piece of cake, even when paying extra for the guaranteed Reaper symbols. Just to make it clear, shelling out for the most expensive option does not guarantee entry to the bonus round.
In addition, and Print Studios has been clear on this, the bonus round has a frequency of 1 in 2,605 spins. Picture ploughing through base game stages, knocking out barriers and getting oh-so close to the bonus before being denied. That might hurt a bit, or a lot. However, the average bonus win is quite high at 449.38x the bet, and if it helps, playing Reapers brought back memories of piling coins into a physical arcade game, except this one requires no skill, just luck, and it can, if you are lucky, sling out sizable rewards.
As mentioned, Reapers' style of gaming won't suit all player types; there's no getting around that. However, even if this isn't a match, it's hard not to respect the considerable creative energy that went into Reaper's design. Even if the grind is too much, the tease too high, the challenge too demanding, Print Studios has made a game that flips what we previously knew of online slot design.
Not everyone will be a match for Reaper’s unique form of entertainment, but even so, it has redefined what is possible in an online slot.